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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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S6S                                  LIFE  OF
two great German powers, was laid towards the end of
1811., or the beginning of 1812. It Is said that the first
and most important steps between the two nations were
made by the monarchs themselves, and that only through
the hands of their most confidential advisers. But the
work must have been more easily effected when a
man like Hnrnboldt had laid the preliminaries. The
king came from Berlin to Prague, and proceeded to
the baths of Toplitz in June, 1812. The presence of
his monarch in the capital of Bohemia brought Hurn-
boldt thither. Immediately afterwards he obtained
leave of absence, and visited his Thxiringian pos-
sessions, probably only as a feint. He arrived in
Berlin In August, and returned from, thence, no doubt
furnished with the most important Instructions, to his
post at Vienna.
More quickly than had been anticipated, and under
more   fortunate   auspices,   came   the   great   day   of
liberation.    The   catastrophe in  Russia,   the   depar-
ture   of the king from Berlin to Breslau, the junc-
tion  of  the   Prussians   and   Russians,—these   news
succeeded   each   other like lightning  flashes.      The
advocates of resistance  now stood forward  supreme,
a "well-regulated  complete  force, whom the govern-
ment   had   to   emulate   in   energy   and   activity, if
they  would not lose their authority.      The ambas-
sador  at   the court  of  Vienna   was   accurately   in-
formed of all that passed at home.    Theodor Korner,
who was in Vienna, wrote to a friend in Dresden, in
February, 1813:  "You may imagine that ray  soles
burn since the address of the King of Prussia to the
volunteers has reached me.     Through the Prussian
ambassador here, Herr von   Humboldt, I am   accu-
rately informed of the popular feeling In Prussia, and
of all that is being done in Breslau/'    In March the
Prussian landwehr was summoned, the  king Issued
an address to his people, and the formal declaration
of war was made; the struggle commenced on  the
plains of Saxony, even before Austria had declared
Itself, or thrown its influence in the scale.